MEC Lesufi made the remarks during the opening of schools for the 2018 academic year, where he handed over the new building to Everest Primary School in Westbury, Johannesburg, on Wednesday.
The R97 million building, which accommodates more than 1000 learners from Grade R to Grade 7 consists of a laboratory, administration and ablution blocks, multi-purpose centre, refuse yard and a dining hall, among others.
The MEC told the community members of Westbury that the provincial government will not take money from somewhere and rebuild something that has already been built for them.
Leave my schools alone
“If you burn down this school or vandalise it, you will see it finish. If there’s any person that is angry against government, councillor, or any particular political party, you must come to me and leave my schools alone.
“It doesn’t make sense to build this kind of schools and when we come back here in the next six months, the school looks different because somebody has stolen a door and another person has vandalised it. You and I came to Johannesburg looking for gold, but that gold is gone… the future gold is our own children, because it is our children that will create jobs and build the economy,” MEC Lesufi said, while handing over the school on behalf of Gauteng Premier David Makhura.
Eradication of asbestos schools
He also announced that the provincial government will eradicate all asbestos schools and replace them with state-of-the-art schools by 2019.
MEC Lesufi said that since 2014, the provincial government has been handing over one school every month, and will continue to do so until 2019. More than 40 new schools have since been opened.
“By the time we leave our political office, all these asbestos schools would fall and proper schools would be built,” he said.
Ward Councillor Suzane Stewart urged the community to take ownership of the school and not vandalise it.
“We still have much to do in this area, and we have to review how well our children are doing,” said Stewart.
Chairperson of the School Governing Body, Khaya Mhlongo, thanked the government for providing a new school, saying that it is going to make a huge difference with the local community and the children.
“Before this, you couldn’t tell whether there’s a learner coming out of the school, because it was made with boxes. With the new school, our children will start believing in themselves and they will now wake up with a hope for the future. We would like to thank the provincial government, especially the Premier’s Office…..without them, we wouldn’t be here today,” said Mhlongo.